If your website is attracting a global audience, or you are hoping to target people in different parts of the world in the near future, it is probably time for you to consider an international search engine optimisation strategy. This is especially true if you are already attracting website visits from people who speak different languages.
Essentially, international SEO is a form of geo-targeting. By working with your SEO consultants, you can help to ensure your website content is as relevant as possible to users in different regions, with a view to improve their entire experience in order to reach your online objectives. So what are the key elements involved in international search engine optimisation?
Before embarking upon your new international SEO strategy, it is important to carry out the necessary research about your audience and its demographic make up. If you are attracting significant traffic from a particular part of the world, it makes sense to cater to that audience, but you may not need to cater to all languages.
Using Google Analytics, check for the volume of traffic from particular regions and identify any noticeable trends. Check the used keywords using both Google Analytics and Search Console, pay attention to the number of visits per country and language, and build up a clear understanding of exactly who your audience is before targeting the key regions.
“If you already have a relatively high or medium organic search visibility with a positive trend… you might want to prioritize these markets,” says international SEO consultant, Aleyda Solis, writing for Kissmetrics.
Once you have an understanding of your audience, the most obvious way to target them is through using the right language. This involves making sure website content and navigation is in the primary language of the region you are targeting. Avoid using automated translation tools and instead focus on getting native-standard content. Speak with your search agency regarding implementing hreflang or language meta tags to tell search engines which languages you feature on your website and to avoid duplicate content issues.
“When publishing a site targeted for an international audience the content needs to be translated to something a native speaker of that language can understand,” explains Ludmila MacLean, an SEO analyst from Hall Internet Marketing. “If at all possible, having a native speaker correct your generated content always helps.”
Locally Relevant Content
While language may be the most obvious way to target an international audience, it is not enough to constitute a successful international SEO strategy. Instead, you need to make sure your content is locally relevant. This is especially important now that search engines like Google have placed a greater emphasis on locality.
Straight translations of generic website content may not encourage people in other parts of the world to engage fully. Instead, make sure your content references the local currency, operates according to the local time zone and offers local contact options. Consider the culture of the region when deciding on things like slogans and design elements.
Furthermore, you need to consider the actual structure of the website itself, with regards to geo-targeting. In order to separate language-specific content, or country-specific content, you have a whole range of options to choose from, including the following:
- Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) – Ideal for country-specific content (e.g. www.YourSite.es, www.YourSite.ru, www.YourSite.co.uk)
- Sub-Domains – Useful for language-specific content (e.g. en.YourSite.com, fr.YourSite.com)
- Sub-Directories – Also good for language targeting (e.g. www.YourSite.com/en, www.YourSite.com/es
Again, it is important to talk to your SEO agency and decide on the best option for your strategy. However, whichever structure you opt for, you should remain consistent across the different regions, so that search engines can easily crawl the information and provide visitors with the best option for them.
Author Bio:- Christelle Macri is the founder of Ebizpromotion, a leading SEO company in Berkshire, with a no-nonsense and ethical approach to digital marketing. She is also search engine consultant with over 17 years experience in the internet advertising industry. Having worked for a major search engine and pioneering pay for performance advertising networks, she is an expert at turning her clients’ websites into consistent revenue streams, using a variety of digital channels.